Dr. Cali Estes is a highly sought after Celebrity Addiction Therapist, Life Coach, Recovery Coach, and Wellness Guru that blends talk therapy with forward and positive change to assist her clients in unlocking their true potential. She has been featured in books, magazines, radio, and television for her work in the addictions and therapy fields. She works with individuals, drug, and alcohol treatment teams and addiction professionals looking to advance their knowledge base.
Dr. Estes has over 20 years of experience working with drug, alcohol, and food addictions. Her deep understanding of drug and alcohol addiction, including the behaviors and ramifications that are associated with it, places her at the top in the field of addiction therapy. She’s is an interactive, solution-focused Positive Psychologist and Cognitive Behavioral Therapist. Her unique no-nonsense approach of cognitive-behavioral therapy, positive psychology, and life coaching combine to provide the perfect support for an addict. Her background in food addictions and the emotional and physical tolls it takes on one’s psyche and physical well-being is highly unique.
Dr. Estes is currently serving as private practitioner working with a broad spectrum of clients. She has been featured on top tier outs such as NBC Universal News, MSN Money, Entrepreneur Magazine, Max Sports and Fitness, among others for her work in Addiction Recovery and has been published in several journals and books for her work on ADD and Relationships.
Dr. Estes is a Certified Masters Level Addiction Professional. She holds a Ph.D. from DSU in Psychology and Life Coaching, a Master’s Degree from WCU, and an undergraduate from PSU, International Certification as a Drug and Alcohol Therapist, Master Certified Addictions Professional, as well as 24 certifications and over 20 years of experience as a Personal Trainer, Yoga Teacher, Pilates Teacher, Food Addictions Specialist, and Life Coach. Her unique approach to get to the root cause of the problem with each client and relate on a humanistic level makes her desirable in this industry. She is more than just a ‘sober coach’. She has a background in clinical and personality psychology, addictions, and forensics and has been featured on NBC, CBS, CNN’s Don Lemon, MSN, Dr. Drew Podcast, Washington Post, Fox News, The Los Angeles Times and many more.
StarCentral Magazine recently caught up with Dr. Cali Estes to discuss her journey to entrepreneurship and here’s what went down:
Can you describe your journey to success? When did you start? Did you ever imagine you would become this successful?
I started out in life with a family that was very poor and I had hopes and dreams at the age of 14 making money, traveling the world, and working using just my phone and a laptop. I achieved those dreams and goals when I was 30 years old, and I started a company with no money. I flipped over my clothing bin to use as a desk, set up my cheap Walmart computer, and created the largest in-home fitness company in the USA. By our third year in business, we had made $4.1 million. Unfortunately, during the economic downturn of 2008, I lost the company and ended up homeless, broke, and trying to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I was able to pick myself up and start over and create another successful company, the one I have now. The Addictions Academy and The Addictions Coach.
What is your main source of income?
I’m the owner and founder of several different companies. The main company is called The Addictions Academy which offers addiction professionals training and education and we are the largest provider in the world. We are in 25 countries, five languages and we have over 30 teachers. Another company that I own is called The Addictions Coach and our specialty is a signature service called Sober on Demand. We offer addiction coaching, therapy, and within the Sober on-Demand program we bring the entire treatment concept to a client. That means we might go on tour with a musician, or come to their office or home and help them with any addiction and mental health issues they are having. I specifically work with high-end clients like CEOs, executives, the NFL, NBA players, and celebrities.
What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?
We are always adding new services to grow our company and our platforms. Recently I launched a company to help other addiction professionals pivot from working in person with clients to an online Telehealth platform. I also released my second book, called “The Seven Keys to Tap into the Wealth inside you, how to Unpause Your Life.” And I have a seven-week course coming out with this to help people get through the tough times and pivot and learn how to utilize their talents. My first book, ‘I Married A Junkie’, detailed my personal story of building my company and brand while my husband fell into the abyss of using heroin.
What social media platforms do you usually use to increase your brand’s awareness?
We currently utilize Facebook for some marketing but the biggest platform that I’ve had the most success with is LinkedIn. I think this specific platform is designed for professionals to connect and network a lot quicker and easier than if you were at an in-person networking event.
What is your experience with paid advertising, like PPC or sponsored content campaigns? Does it work?
The addiction industry is kind of interesting It’s difficult to use a PPC campaign unless you have what’s called legit script which is basically a third-party provider that you paid so that you can advertise on Google. The medical community did this several years ago because too many people were advertising on PPC campaigns in the addiction space and they wanted to weed out competitors. So the average paper click right now is $110 and that doesn’t guarantee you clients. Facebook is tricky because a lot of clients that are on Facebook scrolling at 3 AM generally don’t have the money to pay for your services so you have to get creative when it comes to advertising and really work on the business and personal relationships.
What is your main tactic when it comes to making more people aware of your brand and engaging your customers? How did your business stand out?
I have been on the red carpet and interviewed by some of the top TV people and have video clips up on my website for authority branding – this has helped position me as an authority in the addiction space and the media actually called me ‘The Female Dr. Drew”. I utilize these videos along with both books I wrote and of course our signature program, Sober on Demand, which positions us as different in the industry because we bring the services directly to the client.
What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?
Organic search has been great and of course, word-of-mouth has been fantastic. When it comes to online marketing in the addiction space I think it’s more about a personal connection with who you want to work with and actually talking to people on the phone letting them know you could help and how you can do it.
How did your brand stand out from the rest of the other brands out there that is similar to your niche?
Our brand is very unique with the Sober on Demand concept but we do have competitors for coaching and of course, we have competitors for the educational side offering the classes, however; we are the only company that offers all the possible classes for addiction professionals. I wanted to stand out by being a one-stop-shop which included helping them get on Podcasts, helping them brand themselves, and even have a chapter in a book. So students that want to learn how to become addiction coaches, interventionists, or counselors generally don’t have access to those resources and we now can provide them specifically for our students. My goal with any company is to find the niche and what is missing out there. Specifically in-home services for addiction and a way to educate those that want to become addiction professionals with the full gamut of classes and how to even get clients. We teach it all for them.
What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?
When COVID 19 hit, a lot of people panicked and shut their doors. On the flip side, we pumped dollars into marketing and actually hired people to grow the companies. That was a tough decision because everybody told me that would be suicide for the company as opposed to growing now, we should be quiet and just let this pass. I made the executive decision to grow the company during downtime and take on more clients and help more people. That decision has paid off.
What money mistakes have you made along the way that others can learn from (or something you’d do differently)?
Well, if you know the question “If you had $1 million what would you do with it?” I guarantee you, what you say you would do before you have 1 million is wrong. When I had my first company I never had $1 million in the bank so I ran out and I bought several cars, four houses throughout the US, and I would spend money like it was water. Had I put some of that money aside or invested in something I would not have walked away from that company with nothing. So take the money you’re making, invest in something. Even if it’s Real Estate or Stocks – invest in something that’s going to bring you a return so you have it if something goes wrong. The other thing I did was I hired a very expensive business coach and he took my money and never gave me any coaching. Be careful who you give your money to because they may not be able to provide the services they say they can. Make sure you get to know people very well first and know exactly what you’re getting.
What have you learned in the process of becoming wealthy that others can learn from?
The rule of thumb is to send the elevator back down if you make it to the top. One of the big things I always do is make sure that other people have. I donate frequently to nonprofits, specifically animal organizations, I make sure my staff are paid well and I help a lot of people that cannot afford the services by discounting classes and sometimes offering discounted coaching to the up-and-coming coaches that are looking for clients. You cannot hoard your wealth, you must spread it around for more wealth to come. I follow the principles of the law of attraction and have always done that and it has worked for me.
What new business would you love to start?
I am starting a money mastermind club next because I’ve always wanted to run one. I’ve been to a few of them and always felt like I wasn’t getting what I needed or I wasn’t able to network with the right people so I started The Money Mastermind Club.com and I’ll be launching that in the fall.
If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?
I don’t think I would do anything differently because every trial and tribulation that I had to go through taught me something. Having a fitness company and spending all that money and having all those cars and clothes and all those things and meeting all the celebrities, I still walked away with nothing. That taught me to share the wealth and help more people because if I just hoard my money and keep it to myself I will eventually lose it.
If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were first making a name for yourself, what advice would you give yourself?
Keep trucking along don’t listen to the haters, don’t listen to the people that tell you you can’t make it, just keep doing it and you will succeed.
Do you have any favorite business-related or personal development related books that you can recommend to other entrepreneurs?
Yes, I am a huge fan of anything Wayne Dyer, especially the book, “Power of Positive Intention.” I also like “The Four Agreements” by Don Ruiz. Anything law of attraction related or positive psychology I will read.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
I think the best advice I actually received was from my husband. When I was frustrated or down or feeling like things were not being as successful as I wanted them to be, he would simply tell me “let’s go for a walk, let’s go to dinner but shut it down tonight and tomorrow when you’re clearheaded things will look differently.” That helped me get through some times where I thought I really didn’t want to be in business anymore because it was a client that was unhappy or somebody charge backed services or something wasn’t going correctly or when I got scammed by the business coach. He’s my rock and he kept me going.
What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?
I started all my businesses with less than $300 in my bank account and not knowing how I was going to pay the rent. My best advice to you is to go get cheap business cards, create a quick little website, and let everybody know what you’re doing and start getting clients. Don’t sit and wait and ponder what you’re gonna do or wait until you have the right color business card or the branding or something like that – just start doing it. If you sit and wait you’ll never get it done!